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On Friday, March 18th, 2022, 4th-year medical students at UNC School of Medicine and other institutions nationwide celebrated Match Day 2022 virtually, marking a lifetime milestone in a new era where online forums serve as effective means of mass celebration. Though 2022 became a third consecutive virtual Match Day, it was also a record year in which programs nationwide filled all residency slots in one of the most highly competitive residency recruitment seasons ever.

Building on the success of first-ever virtual interviews during 2020-2021 NRMP recruitment, in early fall 2021, UNC Orthopaedics extended an initial peek at departmental and residency program offerings to prospective applicants via two virtual open houses led by Program Director Dr. Bob Esther. When the ERAS application period opened soon thereafter, a record number of approximately 1100 program applications poured in over the 2021-2022 NRMP season for UNC Orthopaedics recruitment committee review.

Of the 72 applicants selected, UNC Orthopaedics hosted three interview days, offering a strong 1:2 interviewer-interviewee ratio of 12 faculty members to meet with 24 applicants scheduled on each day. Repeatedly, applicants followed up with UNC Orthopaedics recruitment committee faculty and residents praising the ease of navigating virtually through interview days with itineraries in hand marked with virtual (Zoom) waiting room links and assigned interview times with each of three faculty members.

When the Match Day 2022 road forward was announced nationwide on March 18th, UNC Orthopaedics had matched a stellar, diverse group of five 2021-2022 applicants, including two women and three UNC School of Medicine students: Anthony Paterno (UNC School of Medicine); Jackson Perry (UNC School of Medicine); Abigail Smith (Marshall University); Reyanne Strong (UNC School of Medicine); and Daniel Whittingslow (Emory University).

Residency Program Director Dr. Bob Esther noted: “We are happy to welcome an exceptionally talented, accomplished group. We had a record number of applications for the 2021-2022 recruitment season. In addition to three virtual interview days, our virtual sessions with the residents and virtual open houses last fall increased awareness of what our program has to offer. An outstanding recruitment season like this reflects hard work from everyone across the department.

We are grateful for all the dedication, time, and thoughtful input from faculty and residents throughout the selection process, as well as to Residency Program Coordinator Karen Gilliam and Educational Support Specialist Chanelle Arsenault for their contributions.”